Symptoms

The effects of dehydration depend on the amount of body weight removed through bodily fluids. The results could be mild, moderate or even severe. The early signs of dehydration are the experience of thirst and having dark colored urine. These are the body’s responses to dehydration, by trying to increase water intake and minimize water loss. A dehydrated person may also experience dizziness or light-headedness, headache, tiredness, dry mouth, lips and eyes and infrequently passing small amounts of urine for less than three or four times daily. Dehydration could also lead to a loss of stamina and strength which is why it’s the main cause of heat exhaustion. The stage of mild dehydration may be reversed by drinking more fluids, without the need of medical help.

If a person has a current or chronic dehydration, it could affect the kidney function and might cause the development of kidney stones. Chronic dehydration can also lead to other problems such as constipation, liver and muscle damage among others.

If dehydration becomes severe as it is left untreated, it is considered a medical emergency and surely needs immediate medical help. The symptoms of severe dehydration may include but are not limited to the feeling of tiredness (lethargic), confusion, dry mouth and eyes that no longer produce tears, not having urine for about 7 hours, dry skin that sags slowly when pinched, blood in stool or vomit, fast heartbeat, irritability, sunken eyes, weak pulse, seizures and low level of consciousness.

Causes

Dehydration occurs when there is no enough water to replace what the body has lost throughout the day. Your body really dries out when dehydration happens. Sometimes dehydration happens even due to simple everyday reasons: when one does not drink enough fluids because of a sickness or if one is just too plain busy, or because there’s lack of access to safe drinking water when traveling, camping or hiking. Other causes of dehydration include diarrhea or vomiting, fever, excessive sweating or increased urination brought about a medical condition or medication.

Treatment

Treatment of mild dehydration may start at home. A person must try to take in fluids by drinking small amount of water, drinking electrolyte-containing drinks like Gatorade or oral rehydration solutions like Glucolyte. Sucking on ice chips or popsicles made from juice or sports drinks could also recommended. Cooling the dehydrated person is likewise a treatment option, especially if heat exposure is involved. Remove excess clothing, go to an air-conditioned area, or go near fans or under the shade and spray lukewarm water on exposed skin to help with the cooling process.